With a career record of 55-53-18 and 2.60 GAA, Eddie Lack is no Vezina candidate. But his save percentage of .909 is really nothing to sneeze at either. Recently waived by Calgary, the 29-year-old tender from Sweden went undrafted in 2009 (The Bruins took Caron, Button, MacDermid, Randell, and Sexton. Franchise centreman John Tavares went 1st overall to the Islanders that year). However, Lack was picked by the Vancouver Canucks in 2010 and played on their AHL affiliate the Manitoba Moose as the starter and was later transferred to the Chicago Wolves in 2011with the reintroduction of the Winnipeg Jets to the NHL. After a hip injury and consequent surgery ended his 12-13 season prematurely, he was named backup to the ‘Nucks for 13-14. Over the summer of 2015, Lack was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for two draft picks. While he was in Carolina, Lack signed a two year, $5.5 million contract extension. When he was later traded to Calgary, Carolina still retained $1.375 million of that contract.
It seems like everyone’s favorite scapegoat in hockey is the goalie. And the goalie can certainly make or break a team. Lately, in Boston, the Rask vs Khudobin debate has raged on but quietly in Providence there has been another battle this season. Since goalie Malcolm Subban was claimed off waivers by the Las Vegas Golden Knights, the Providence Bruins have struggled to find footing and constancy in the crease. Providence has plenty of goaltending talent in the pipeline, Zane McIntyre is the current starter in Providence, Dan Vladar plays in the ECHL affiliate Atlanta Gladiators, Jeremy Swayman was selected in the 3rd round in the 2015 draft started his freshman year playing at UMaine this fall, and Kyle Keyser plays in the OHL for the Oshawa Generals. Jordan Binnington is currently on loan with the P Bruins from St Louis Blues affiliate Chicago Wolves, acting as a tandem starter with McIntyre. See the Black and Gold Hockey Blog’s post for more information on why Binnington is an issue. I think that one of the reasons that Binnington is kept around is to avoid having to fly Vladar up every time a third goalie is needed, but this can easily be avoided by enlisting whoever the starting goalie is with the Providence College Friars hockey team to come and sit on the bench and open the home team’s bench door for a night.
After clearing waivers on November 24, Lack backstopped the AHL Stockton Heat to a win in his first game with the Flame’s minor league affiliate. Looking at his highlights, you can see where his 6’4” frame gives him an advantage over many shooters. His leg pads alone cover the entire bottom of the net and unusually long arms have helped him earn the nickname “The Crane”. Last Saturday night, Providence was shelled 8-2 by Carolina affiliate Charlotte Checkers in a massacre that could easily have been blamed on McIntyre. The following afternoon, Binnington backstopped the P’s to a 2-1 OT win, also against Charlotte. The entire purpose of this article, sans my rambling, has been to address why I believe Eddie Lack would be an appropriate addition to Providence’s team. The first and most obvious reason is that I think he would be a good partner for Zane. At 25 and 29 respectively, McIntyre and Lack should both be entering their primes relatively soon as it takes longer for goalies to mature. McIntyre has taken probably dozens of trips up to TD Garden to back up Rask and/or Khudobin already this year, not only creating instability in Providence but also seemingly affecting his confidence. Having a seasoned NHL guy behind him would probably be a relief on bad nights. Providence doesn’t lack “career AHLers” or guys who never make it to the big show, but with the slew of rookies making their way into the ranks, one more veteran locker room presence is rarely a bad idea.
As I previously stated, the Boston Bruins has no shortage of goalies in the development pipeline, but therein lays the issue. 18, 19, and 20-year-old goalies can do nothing for the team at this point. In order to send Binnington back to Chicago, the Bruins need to bring in some fresh blood. Lack signed his two-year contract back in 2015, meaning that it will be up at the end of this year. It would be simple for the Bruins to bring him in as a one year player or a rental to finish out the season without overpaying as they have done in the past (I love you Tuukka, but please give some money back). I believe that Lack himself would also benefit from being in Providence. He could get more games under his belt here and potentially get to work with Bob Essensa to refine his skills further. Seeing fewer shots in a night would help him to hone in and improve himself, potentially right Providence’s goalie woes, and work to rebuild his own sinking ship before it’s too late.
Published by UnhingedSalmon, but article credit goes to Angie. She is an amateur goalie and pizza enthusiast who can be reached via Twitter at @WifeOfSalmon.